Hidden in a side alley behind the back of Mansion House is a gated, and often locked pocket park.
Like many parks in the City of London, it’s a former graveyard, but unlike most of them which are looked after by the City of London, this one is still managed by the Diocese of London.
There’s been a church on this site since around the 7th century, although the current church is one of Sir Christopher Wren’s post fire buildings. It was badly damaged during WW2 and re-dedicated in 1987.
The church is particularly notable for the fact that the then rector Reverend Chad Varah founded the Samaritans, initially with just one old phone in the church to accept calls.
The garden is accessed from around the back of the church, and the gates are locked at weekends, and on every visit during the week, also locked — until recently when a quick diversion when in the area found the gates open at last.
The garden is a rather well tended one, with low rise planting and a simple colour scheme running around the grave stones in the paving. A few trees add structure, and there’s plenty of seating around the edges.
A modern sundial is in one corner, and a stone bench added recently in memory of the landscape gardener, Lanning Roper, who redesigned the garden in 1975-82 by Lord Peter Palumbo.
The garden overall has a very clean, almost sanitized feel about it, but in a way that’s redolent of good maintenance keeping everything spotless and cared for.
It’s worth a detour if near Mansion House, if only to see if the gates are unlocked.
Location map and local interesting places
- 1] St Stephen Walbrook's Churchyard Garden
- 2] St Swithin's Church Garden
- 3] Tallow Chandlers Hall
- 4] Whittington Garden
- 6] St Stephen's Row
- 7] Post Office Court
- 8] Pope's Head Alley
- 9] Nicholas Passage
- 10] Bengal Court
- 11] Castle Court
- 12] Newcastle Court, EC4
- 13] Prudent Passage
- 14] Groveland Court, EC4